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7/31/08: Two Different Kinds of Progress in Bringing Bush/Cheney to Justice.
 This morning, the following news came over the AP wire about forcing Bush Administration Officials to testify under oath before the House Judiciary Committee, like any Ordinary American:    ". . . U.S. District Judge John Bates said there's no legal basis for Bush's argument and that his former legal counsel, Harriet Miers, must appear before Congress. If she wants to refuse to testify, he said, she must do so in person. The committee also has sought to force testimony from White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten."      The article goes on to say that the ruling will have application in the House Contempt Citation against the President's former advisor, Karl Rove, and will aid in the investigation of High Crimes revealed in the U.S. Attorney General's Office:       "Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, signaled that hearings would commence in September on the controversy that scandalized the Justice Department and led to the resignation of a longtime presidential confidant, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.  

"''We look forward to the White House complying with this ruling and to scheduling future hearings with Ms. Miers and other witnesses who have relied on such claims,' Conyers said in a statement. 'We hope that the defendants will accept this decision and expect that we will receive relevant documents and call Ms. Miers to testify in September.'

"[Federal Judge] Bates, who was appointed to the bench by Bush, issued a 93-page opinion that strongly rejected the administration's legal arguments. He noted that the executive branch could not point to a single case in which courts held that White House aides were immune from congressional subpoenas."     This matter is really moving much faster than I (and many correspondents, I have) expected it to.      Along those lines, I had two letters today from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Of course, they were form letters, but each suggested a subtle shift in the Speaker's position over the last month, when Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio presented his 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.  [He had earlier given an Impeachment Resolution for Vice President Dick Cheney.]     Speaker Pelosi's first letter read:   

Dear Mr. Fraser:

 Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the actions of the current Administration. I agree that the Administration must be held accountable, and I am working with the Congress to do so.

 Impeachment

 The Democratic majority in Congress is working to take the country in a New Direction - change the failed policy in Iraq, make America safer and more secure, raise the minimum wage, promote energy independence, address global warming, make college more affordable, respond to the health care crisis and make government more accountable.

 We are continuing to fight for change every day on these and other issues to improve the lives of all Americans. There is no more important task before us than to bring our troops home safely and soon, and we will continue to work to do so. However, I believe impeachment proceedings against the President or the Vice President will not contribute to attaining that goal.

 Congressional Oversight

 The Constitution gives the Congress a crucial role in overseeing the Executive Branch in order to protect the American people against overreaching, incompetence, and corruption.

 For the last six years, under Republican leadership, Congress failed to conduct its proper oversight role and did not take action to address the extent of the mismanagement of our Iraq policy, widespread corruption by contractors in Iraq , and the failed response to Hurricane Katrina.

 The House is committed to conducting vigorous oversight, and have already passed legislation to clean up government contracting abuses and 'no bid' contracts that companies like Halliburton and KBR have made infamous, protect the public's right to know by strengthening

The Freedom of Information Act, and restore "checks and balances" by investigating the military health care crisis, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina reconstruction failures, and the firing of U.S. Attorneys. Since the beginning of the 110th Congress, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has conducted many oversight hearings to look into allegations of fraud, waste and government corruption throughout the Bush Administration, and to demand changes in policies promoted by special interests and corrupt officials.

 In the 110th Congress, Democrats in the House and Senate will continue to hold the Bush administration accountable for its actions. Please be assured that upholding Congress' constitutional responsibility to oversee the activities of the Executive Branch will continue to be among my highest priorities.

 For more information on this and other issues affecting our country, I invite you to visit my website at www.house.gov/pelosi. Thank you again for taking the time to express your views on this important subject. I hope you will continue to communicate with me on matters of concern to you.

 Sincerely,


Nancy Pelosi

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  The second letter from Speaker Pelosi says the same thing basically; she is reluctant to support impeachment.  But it is more detailed and personal, perhaps showing more of her feelings and goals, and it is signed "Nancy Pelosi, Member of Congress."

  The second letter reads:



Dear Mr. Fraser:

 Thank you for contacting me to express ss your support for impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush. I appreciate hearing from you.


 On June 10, 2008, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced HRes 1258, to bring articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, President of the United States. On June 11, 2008, the full House of Representatives referred the resolution to the Committee on the Judiciary by a vote of 251-166. No further action has been taken.

 This war has resulted in the loss of over 4,000 American lives, wounded more than 40,000 of our men and women in uniform, ended or shattered countless Iraqi lives, and cost American taxpayers nearly $1 trillion. Searches failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraqwhich were the President's justification for the war. President Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence is further demonstration of his failure to hold his Administration accountable and to uphold the rule of law.

 The American people elected Democrats to Congress to take the country in a New Direction - ending the war in Iraq, making America safer and more secure, raising the minimum wage, promoting energy independence, preventing global warming, making college more affordable, addressing the health care crisis and on making government more accountable.

 We are continuing to fight for change every day on these and other issues to improve the lives of all Americans. There is no more important task before us than to bring our troops home safely and soon, and we will continue to work to do so. I believe impeachment proceedings against the President will distract us from our mission to achieve that goal.

 At the same time, through oversight and investigations we are continuing to look into allegations of fraud, waste and government corruption throughout the Bush Administration, and to demand changes in policies promoted by special interests and corrupt officials. Since the beginning of the 110th Congress, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has conducted more than 65 oversight hearings. Please be assured that upholding Congress' constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance to the Executive Branch will continue to be among my highest priorities.

 Thank you again for your interest in this issue. For more information on this and other issues affecting our country, I invite you to visit myweb site at www.house.gov/pelosi. I hope you will continue to communicate with me on matters of concern to you.

 Sincerely,


Nancy Pelosi


Member of Congress

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   Will House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers become the lion of old and run former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, former White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton and former Presidential Advisor Karl Rove to earth, developing evidence against the hundreds of other potential criminals who have served the Bush/Cheney White House over the last eight years?

  Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi let Pelosi be Pelosi, and press for more oversight hearings in September, and then indictments?

   Will George Bush and Dick Cheny, on the evening of January 20, 2009,  be able to slip aboard a tramp steamer bound on the Midnight tide for Punte del Este?  Or will Federal Marshals sweep down upon them and their entourages, to send them off  to await trial with their less fortunate henchmen?

    Time will tell.

    Keep at it, my friends.

          Alex